Audi Q8 has an im­pos­ing stance on the road

Albany Advertiser - - MOTORING - Ewan Kennedy

An all-new model in the Audi lineup, the Q8 is a large SUV.

While many SUVs have be­come sleeker, in­deed al­most coupe-like in their shape in re­cent years, Audi’s de­sign­ers have en­dowed their Q8 with an im­pos­ing stance.

The huge Audi sin­gle-frame grille with ver­ti­cal strakes and a heav­ily con­toured front spoiler make the big Audi in­stantly recog­nis­able.

The bold shape con­tin­ues along the sides with large wheel arches, and the slope down of the roof to­wards the rear is min­i­mal.

In­ter­est­ingly, though, the Q8 has frame­less doors.

In­te­ri­ors are some­thing Audi ar­guably does bet­ter than any­one else. The Q8 im­presses with a min­i­mal­ist black-panel look that sweeps all the way across the dash.

Two dis­plays, 10.1-inch and 8.6inch, in­ter­act with the high-res 12.3-inch Audi vir­tual cock­pit.

The to­pline model, the Q8 55 with a V6 turbo-petrol en­gine will be first cab off the rank. With an im­pres­sive 250kW of power and torque of 500Nm between 2900 and 5300rpm it has huge per­for­mance, a claimed sub six-sec­onds to 100km/h. It drives all four wheels through an eight-speed au­to­matic trans­mis­sion.

The 50 TDI Q8 turbo-diesel will ar­rive at a date yet to be an­nounced

— all Audi is say­ing at this stage is, “later in 2019”.

Safety is as­sured in the all-new Audi Q8, with no fewer than 39 driver as­sis­tance sys­tems to pro­vide both ac­tive and pas­sive safety pro­tec­tion for oc­cu­pants.

In­cluded are au­ton­o­mous emer­gency brak­ing, adap­tive cruise con­trol with stop and go, traf­fic jam as­sist, lane de­par­ture warn­ing, pre-sense front and rear, lane change warn­ing, cross traf­fic as­sist at the rear as well as the front, head-up dis­play and 360de­gree cam­eras, the later in­clud­ing kerb view.

While the Q8 won’t be on sale un­til Jan­uary, deal­ers will be happy to take or­ders now.

Audi held the me­dia launch of the new Q8 in Can­berra and put to­gether an en­ter­tain­ing drive pro­gram to Cooma by way of Crack­en­back. These are the sort of ar­eas likely to be used by own­ers on trips to the ski fields.

An in­creas­ing num­ber of peo­ple are tour­ing around the Snowies in sum­mer.

The drive pro­gram kept away from the ma­jor routes a lot of the time and cov­ered flat ar­eas mixed with plenty of hilly roads and a fair bit of dirt road work. No se­ri­ous off-road work was in­cluded and ob­vi­ously the roads weren’t icy.

Audi Q8 is pretty heavy at two and a quar­ter tonnes, but it felt smaller and lighter than it re­ally was thanks to the Audi’s im­pres­sive sus­pen­sion sys­tems.

Air sus­pen­sion is used in some mod­els and made the ride al­most boule­vard-like on rough and ready back roads. The steel sus­pen­sion wasn’t quite as smooth but still re­tained its com­po­sure.

Cor­ru­gated dirt was smoothed out al­most as though it wasn't there. Coarse-chip bi­tu­men ob­vi­ously did in­crease noise lev­els, but to a min­i­mum ex­tent. On smooth roads the Q8 was limo-like in its smooth­ness and near si­lence on good qual­ity roads.

Han­dling is neat and ac­cu­rate, but the sheer mass of the Q8 means you wouldn’t call it ag­ile. Which prob­a­bly suits the pas­sen­gers on trips like this as its stops dad be­com­ing overly en­thu­si­as­tic in his driv­ing (not a sex­ist re­mark - al­most in­vari­ably it’s dad who’s the cul­prit)

Two-wheel steer­ing and four­wheel steer­ing were driven for ex­tended dis­tances. As we have dis­cov­ered be­fore in the the Audi A7 and A8 steer­ing by the back wheels as well as the front re­ally makes a large ve­hi­cle seem to read the driver’s mind. Beau­ti­ful!

As a real bonus, the four-wheel­steered Q8 has a tighter turn­ing cir­cle, some­thing that will come in very hand in the real world in­hab­ited by most SUVs — shop­ping cen­tre carparks, drop-off ar­eas at schools and the like.

The Q8 has frame­less doors.

All-new Audi Q8 has a rugged look that will ap­peal to many.

The Q8 im­presses with a min­i­mal­ist black-panel look.

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